Washington, Sept. 28 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Bill Bryant, a Republican challenging incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee for the office of governor in Washington state, responded to the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.
RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
While Bryant did not answer each question individually, he sent a letter addressing several of the issues brought up in the questionnaire including employment. He also talked about how his nephew’s disability influences his views.
RespectAbility also has sent the questionnaire to the campaign of incumbent Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running for re-election. We will post his response when we receive it.
We are presenting Bryant’s full letter below:
My nephew is autistic. Early intervention enabled him to master reading and math skills above grade level. His journey, and the joy and challenges experienced by his parents and our family, have given me a unique perspective into the needs of both those with disabilities and their families. It’s because of this perspective that I want to work with advocates of those with disabilities.
Washington has a strong record of support for people with disabilities, but we still lag in certain areas. While Washington has 488,620 people with disabilities, only 184,137 are employed – 37%. As governor, I will focus on how we can provide the education, training and incentives to move us toward a goal of 50% employment for people with disabilities.
Like many advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities, I was dismayed when Gov. Inslee’s proposed budget last year cut care and employment support for individuals and families with developmental disabilities. As governor, you will not only have an open door in my administration, I will work to reach out to you for ways we can take positive steps for those with disabilities.
RespectAbility has asked all the candidates for Governor on both sides of the aisle to complete the same questionnaire. We will share responses from additional campaigns as we receive them.
The RespectAbility Report is a nonpartisan political commentary on the 2016 U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report has covered all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for president and has begun coverage of down ballot candidates. Coverage can be found at http://therespectabilityreport.org/. The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates.